What are the differences between community engagement and service learning?

Rather than relying upon specific labels, it's important to consider the function of the student's experience, and the partnership or role within the community. This can refer to a variety of off campus learning experiences and activities that students engage in that contribute to the public good

Community Engagement: Is an umbrella term that encompasses the variety of ways the campus collaborates with the community to strengthen and improve the quality of life in communities, that is, contribute to the public good.

Service Learning: Service learning is a teaching method that promotes student learning through active participation in meaningful and planned experiences in the community that are directly related to course content and contribute to the public good. Through reflective activities, students enhance their understanding of course content and sense of social responsibility.

What does the Community Engagement Office do?

  • develop and maintain community partnerships
  • coordinate and promote student leadership for community engagement
  • document, gather, and disseminate data on community engagement activities and events for the campus and community
  • help direct interested campus and community members seeking out opportunities
  • administer service learning courses
  • advise and consult on best practices; develop and share resources

Where can I find more information on service learning and community engagement?        Helpful External Links

Why are service learning and community engagement important to the CSU?

According to CSU Chancellor Timothy White, "…partnerships with more than 3,000 community organizations throughout the Golden State and 32 million hours of service annually, resulting in an economic impact of $708 million. While these numbers are impressive, they do not capture how the CSU is preparing active, engaged and informed civic leaders for the 21st century, nor do they capture the personal stories of lives being transformed.

Service learning and community engagement programs are hallmarks of the California State University and an integral component of our mission to provide the public services that enrich our 23 universities and our local communities. CSU students, faculty, staff and more than 2.8 million alumni are contributing to the social, health, cultural and economic well-being of our local and global communities."

For more information on community engagement throughout the CSU go to http://www.calstate.edu/cce/